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Forest fires: extreme risks and first evacuations

Forest fires: extreme risks and first evacuations
Forest fires: extreme risks and first evacuations

Published on June 22, 2024 at 11:47 a.m.

Certain sectors of Port-Cartier on the North Shore had to be evacuated on Friday. Uncontrolled forest fires are raging about fifteen kilometers to the north.


Evacuation in Port-Cartier

Two fires were already raging north of Port-Cartier at the end of the week, and lightning ignited another one on Friday. On Thursday, it was about fifty km away, closer to Sept-Îles, that a new fire broke out. Once again, lightning is the cause. There are therefore 5 uncontrolled fires within a radius of less than 100 km in this sector. Residents of the Parc Brunel, Parc Dominique and residences north of Route 138 areas received an evacuation notice for 8 p.m. Friday evening. A reception center was set up in Baie-Comeau and public transportation was organized. Correctional Service Canada has put in place a plan for the evacuation of the Port-Cartier penitentiary.

The dry ground

The heat hit everywhere in Quebec last week. Even if the mercury did not reach record figures there like in the south of the province, the North Shore saw temperatures close to the threshold of 30°, which is exceptional for the region. Result: the ground has seriously dried out. The lightning therefore had a free path afterwards to start a few fires there. There are also reports of an uncontrolled forest fire in the Havre-Saint-Pierre region.

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A clear line

Currently, the province is split in two regarding wildfire risks. Rain has greatly reduced the risks in the south and west of the province in recent days. During this Midsummer weekend, more rain is expected in the southwest of the province. Risks are therefore low, moderate or high in most regions. But in Gaspésie and on the North Shore, it’s a completely different story. The risks there are extreme, and the situation will undoubtedly get worse over the weekend. The rain which threatens to disrupt the national day celebrations will spare these two regions. The risks will therefore remain extreme.

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No campfire for Midsummer

According to Sopfeu forecasts, the risks will be low for all regions south of Saguenay from Monday. In Bas-Saint-Laurent, the risk level will be at its minimum, but east of Rimouski, the situation will change completely. The risks will be extreme for all sectors to the east, namely Gaspésie, Anticosti Island and the entire North Shore. In these areas, campers will need to cook their sausages on their portable propane stove or grill, as open campfires have been strictly prohibited there since June 20.

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SEE ALSO: A couple struck by lightning: they survive

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